Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 2, 2012 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT

5:30 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: a pennsylvania judge blocked a new law that would have required voters to show photo i.d. at the polls next month. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, ray suarez examines how the debate over voting rights and election year fraud is playing out around the country. >> ifill: then, we have two takes on the battle for north carolina. jeffrey brown reports on the tightening presidential contest. >> brown: barack obama won this state in 2008 by the slimmest of margins with help from a large
5:31 pm
african-american turnout. four years later in a down economy it looks like his challenge will be even greater. >> woodruff: and we talk with national public radio's greg allen. he focuses on the outreach to hispanics in the tar heel state. >> ifill: then margaret warner updates the investigation into the assault on the u.s. consulate in libya. >> woodruff: we look at new findings showing australia's great barrier reef has lost half its coral in the last 27 years. >> ifill: and we close with snapshots of three of this year's macarthur genius award winners, each with a unique view of war. >> people tend to look at the military, they tend to look at war and they tend to look at conflict as something very black and white. it's not like that at all. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: creating new enriching experiences. through intel's philosophy of
5:32 pm
"invest you for the future" we're helping bring these new capabilities to market. we're investing billions of dollars in r&d around the globe to have the heart of tomorrow's innovations. by investing today in technologicalled advances here at intel, we can help make a better tomorrow. >> a by e bi andelinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
5:33 pm
>> woodruff: the national debate over voter identification laws took a new turn in pennsylvania today. a state judge ruled that officials must wait until 2013 to begin enforcing a new law. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: the decision means pennsylvania voters will not have to present photo identification on election day in november. in his ruling today, commonwealth judge robert simpson noted the election is just five weeks away. he wrote, "i question whether sufficient time now remains to attain the goal of leral access to acceptable photo identification." as a result, he said, "i'm not convinced in my predictive judgment that there will be no voter dissen france chietment. opponents of the law including stephanie singer praised the decision. >> we can disagree about whether there should be any kind of photo i.d. law for voting. we can disagree and i'm in the next several months maybe years we will disagree. but there's one thing we can't
5:34 pm
disagree on. something we have to agree on and that is that no one can be disenfranchised. >> suarez: in august judge simpson actually upheld the requirement that voters present a valid phoeni owe i.d. before g ballots this fall. two weeks ago the pennsylvania supreme court ordered the judge to review the law again to ensure that barriers to obtaining i.d. cards are not excessive. the measure passedded pennsylvania's republican-dominated legislature last march on a straight party line vote. representative daryl metcalfe was the sponsor. >> we've had a history in pennsylvania of corruption within the election process. it's important to ensure that this very common sense measure is in place. whether you board a plane or cash a check, get a library card, you have to prove that you are who you claim to be. it's just common sense. >> suarez: but opponents charge the real goal is to suppress turnout among minorities, the
5:35 pm
elderly and poor, traditionally democratic blocs. during the democratic national convention, georgia congressman and civil rights icon john lewis compared some voter i.d. statutes to literacy tests and poll taxes that kept blacks from voting for years in the south. >> i've seen this before. i lived this before. too many people struggled, suffered, and died to make this possible for every american to exercise their right to vote. ( applause ) >> suarez: nationwide pennsylvania is now one of 33 states with voter identification laws. it's one of five states with strict photo i.d. laws. the statutes have spawnd at least 15 legal challenges over everything from voter i.d. to early voting to culling voter rolls. in florida, the state republican party has filed a fraud complaint against the company it hired to register voters.
5:36 pm
as of friday at least 10 counties have spotted possibly fraudulent forms turned in by the firm. back in pennsylvania another eye peel to the state supreme court remains possible. in the meantime, the new rules have already been modified, prompting new coalitions to form with theim of helping voters navigate the confusion. for more on how voter i.d. for more on how voter i.d. battles will play out in pennsylvania and elsewhere, we turn to daryl metcalfe, the republican state representative who wrote the pennsylvania voter i.d. law at the heart of today's decision. and judith browne dianis, co- director of advancement project, among the groups representing the plaintiff in the pennsylvania case. representative metcalfe, judge simpson upheld your law just not now. is that a victory or a defeat? >> good evening, ray. it is a victory but also a loss. we've suffered a loss in that the voters in pennsylvania now will not have their vote protected in this november's
5:37 pm
election through the use of the voter photo i.d. at the voting polls when they vote in person. although we still have remaining intact our absentee ballot fraud prevention measures which the judge left intact and did not touch. i think it's a travesty of justice to see once again a judge legislating from the bench, rewriting a law that the people's voice has passedded through the legislative branch and that the governor signed into law. >> suarez: judith browne dianis, is it a victory or a defeat? you wantedded this law stopped >> that's right suarez: it's legal. just doesn't take effect right away >> it's a big victory for democracy. finally pennsylvania voters can know that they will have free, fair and accessible elections this november. this is a state where there was absolutely no evidence of voter fraud. in fact, you know, this is a win for democracy. we're making sure that the election is open and that it's equal in the way people access the ballot. >> suarez: but now we're looking
5:38 pm
at a soft rollout where the state will have more time to put the law that you oppose into place. and it is, under judge simpson's judgment, constitutional >> we are concerned about some of the confusion around the voter education piece that will continue to be rolled out. you know, and the fact that poll workers can actually still ask people for i.d.s although they don't have to produce it in order to get a regular ballot. we think at the end of the day that the pennsylvania state nstitutioneallyoes prevent this kind of law from going forward because as the supreme court said it really wantedded to see, you know, make sure that there's no disenfranchisement. we think that there was 760,000 people that the state estimated were going to be impacted by this law. in fact, they have won because they will have access to the ballot in november. >> suarez: representative metcalfe, when is the next biggie leches in pennsylvania after november 6? and will you have time to answer some of ms. browne dianis'
5:39 pm
complaints? >> we don't need to answer her complaints. the constituion is very clear. this is the responsibility of the legislature. it stands within our area of responsibility to set this process up for the election and ultimately the way the courts have written these decisions, written these opinions it's very clear that they believe that this is is constitutional. they went down this path of looking at the availability of i.d. cards which have been more than available for the last eight months. people have had plenty of time to secure the i.d.s. once again i think this is just another act of judicial activism, a judge legislating from the bench. ase aroach nex year's primary we'll have plenty of time for hopefully the judges to be comfortable in the fact that people will have had over a year to secure i.d. now. i don't know how much time they would ultimately want people to have. but i think eight months in this year was plenty of time unless the person just didn't have the work ethic to get out there and do what they needed to do to get their i.d. >> suarez: where does the battle
5:40 pm
move next? there are other states stillen meshed in arguments about how to run elections and what people should have to show when they enter a polling place. >> well at the end of the day, you know, this is a fundamental right to our democracy. it's to be able to participate through electing those who represent you. unfortunately what's happened is that across the country over the past two years we have seen these laws passed by some politicians that want to manipulate the rules of voting so that they can gain themselves. unfortunately it's impacted those who turned out in record numbers in 2008. young voters, people of color, the elderly. even in pennsylvania we're talking about veterans who find themselvessate not being able to vote. so at thend of thay we're going to continue to fight these laws that create barriers to equal voting. >> suarez: representative metcalfe, during the run-up to the court case, you told me that given supreme court precedent and what other states were
5:41 pm
doing, you felt that pennsylvania was right in the slip stream of where the country was going. do you still feel the same way, that pennsylvania really isn't an odd man out, and can this law be put in place in a way that gets that number of disenfranchised, potentially disenfranchised people down? >> i don't believe there will be anybody disenfranchised. that was proven through the indiana case that went before the u.s. supreme court which we modeled our law after the indiana law. ultimately i don't believe there would have been any disenfranchised voters to the polls this november. it was a straw man argument used by the left to try and stop the i.d., to try to maintain status co- to ultimately protect the forces of corruption. we've seen acorn filing fictitious registrations in 20. we've had prosecuons in pennsylvania f election fraud. ultimately i believe that this law will stand. it's going to be the will of the people, the majority of pennsylvanians want to make sure that this policy is in place to
5:42 pm
protect every legally cast vote to ensure the forces of corruption do not have their way with undermining the will of the people. >> suarez: is it still unclear though where this is all going to end up? given the court setbacks in ohio, in various other states where they've tried to limit the days of early voting, raise the threshold for identification when you come to the polls, various rule changesindvance of this november 6? >> i think we're expecting to see the court revis it this in december. to consider the permanent invungs that was filed by the leftists who are trying to stop this new policy in pennsylvania. ultimately i believe we'll be victorious. it took me ten years to get to the point where it was signed law. i'm not willing to give up. i'm here for another session at least. i'm going to be working with my colleagues and citizens across the state, the majority of citizens across the state that want to see this common sense policy in place to ensure that every legally cast vote is
5:43 pm
protected and not one legally cast vote is canceled out by the forces of corruption. >> suarez: quickly before we go, ms. browne dianis, does the battle just enter a new phase now that november 6 is no longer an issue? >> november 6 is is not an issue. but we will continue to make sure that we are on the side of voters, that we ensure that the right to vote is actually realized in this country and that, you know, while... no one wants fraud in the system. we can't create these artificial barriers that are really about partisan politics. >> suarez: judith browne dianis, representative metcalfe, thank you both >> thank you . ifill: still to come on the >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, courting north carolina and its african american voters-- and, through advertising, its latino voters, too; an update on the deadly attack at the u.s. consulate in libya; why is the great barrier reef disappearing?; and the macarthur geniuses. but first, with the other news of the day, here's kwame holman. >> holman: j.p. morgan chase now
5:44 pm
faces a major mortgage fraud lawsuit involving the actions of bear stearns, the former rival it bought in 2008. new york state filed the civil case monday. it alleges bear stearns misled investors who bought securities based on sub-prime mortgage loans in 2006 and 2007. their collapse led to huge losses. new york state attorney general eric schneiderman said today on cnbc the company's actions were flagrant. >> you can't as a prosecutor allow this conduct conduct to go unpunished and send a message that there's one set of rules for one group of people and another set for others. we brought the case because it was ready. it's the first case ready. we are by no means singling them out. >> holman: the lawsuit is the first to arise out of a federal- state working group that targets alleged misconduct in the financial meltdown of 2008. home prices in the u.s. had a big month in aust. a private data firm, core-logic, reported today that prices jumped more than 4.5% over a
5:45 pm
year earlier. that's the biggest gain in more than six years. still, it wasn't enough to give wall street much of a boost. the dow jones industrial average lost more than 32 points to close at 13,482. the nasq rose six points to close at 3120. u.s. auto sales surged more than 10% in september from a year ago. toyota and volkswagen led the way, with gains of 30% to 40%. chrysler had a 12% increase, its best september since 2007. general motors was up just 1.5%, and sales at ford were flat. there's been a new outbreak of violence in northern nigeria, where 27 college students were killed overnight. it happened in the town of mubi. some of the victims were shot to death while others were stabbed. police said the violence could have been related to warring student factions. the islamist militant group boko haram also has carried out killings in the region. the last stronghold of islamist rebels in somalia fell today to
5:46 pm
african union forces. kenyan troops and armored vehicles took up positions around the port of kismayo. the city had been a power center for al-shabab, the group that's fought somalia's internationally backed government for years. al-shabab is allied with al- qaeda, but the militants now have been driven out of all of somalia's major cities. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: the men at the top of the presidential tickets hunkered down again today for debate preparation, ahead of the big meeting tomorrow night. but they also managed to break away briefly-- president obama for a visit to the hoover dam, and governor romney out with an aide to buy lunch, a burrito. meanwhile, their running mates made multiple stops in key states. vice president biden told a crowd in charlotte, north carolina that mitt romney would raise taxes on most americans to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. >> how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class has
5:47 pm
been buried the last four years. how in lord's name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts? look, folks, we've seen this movie before. massive tax cuts for the wealthy. eliminating restrictions on wall street. let the banks write their own rules. we know where it ends. it ends in a catastrophe of the middle class and the great recession of 2008. folks, we cannot go back to that. >> woodruff: the republican national committee and the romney campaign seized on biden's remark about the middle class. they called it a "stunning admission" that the president's policies have been bad for the economy and the middle class. but biden-- at his next stop, in asheville, north carolina-- said what has buried the middle class is the result of policies that romney and ryan are supporting. in clinton, iowa, vice presidential nominee paul ryan said a romney administration would help more americans find jobs. >> we have a jobs crisis in america.
5:48 pm
wouldn't it be nice to have a job creator in the white house? ( applause ) we can't afford four more years. we need a real recovery. take a look at just jobs. we lost 582,000 manufacturing jobs since the president took office. he's offering a new tax increase on our job creators that will cost us 700,000 jobs. we're offering really forms. >> ifill: whh candidate has thbetterlan to get the economy back on track? that's the key question in battleground states like north carolina, which only months ago seemed out of reach for the democrats this year. but it's back in play again. jeffrey brown traveled there to discover why. >> lead the way. brown: 26-year-old dewayne owens who served in the marines and is now a professional mixeded marshal artist usually takes on tougher opponents than your correspondent. >> i see. brown: but this weekend on a break from training at the gym in durham, he offered a few
5:49 pm
pointers >> when i kick i'm thinking about kicking through the person. >> brown: he also addressed other form of combat: politics. owens voted for barack obama in 2008 and will again. but he wonders whether his friends will turn out in full force this time. >> i remember in 2008 i couldn't get away from it, not that i wanted to. but it was facebook. any time you would go somewhere, you were speaking with a friend or the family, are you voting? it was really, you know, big >> brown: you don't feel like they're enthusiastic >> no. people might have had unrealistic expectations >> brown: expectations and enthusiasm could determine the outcome here. barack obama's victory here in north carolina four years ago was the first by a democrat since 1976. it was helped in large part by a huge turnout by african-americans, a whooping 72%, well above the national average. but his win here was his slimmest margin in the country. a mere 14,000 votes. it looks like he'll have to do
5:50 pm
as well or better among blacks and other voters in this deeply divided state. the task is made harder by the hit north carolina took in the recession. unemployment was 9.7%, fifth highest in the country. the rate for african-americans is nearly double. and the state has seen enormous change. demographically with the reverse migration of blacks returning and an influx of hispanics and other new residents. and economically. u.n.c. professor and long time political reporter says north carolina is moving in two directions at once >> the up escalator in this state is the economic diversification into higher-wage, higher-skill, research and development, biotechnology. the down escalator is the collapse of the traditional industries of textiles, tobacco and furniture. and the elevation of the unemployment rate. >> brown: you can see the
5:51 pm
dividing lines everywhere. in downtown durham where an old tobacco plant is now an upscale historic district, home to restaurants and businesses with an art center and the durham bulls' athletic park across the way. while some 80 miles away in more rural rocky mount, old textile plants and mills sit shuttered. all this, he says, plays into the state's divided politics >> where the republicans have gained in this state is particularly among blue-collar people and rural people that in the older south used to be democrats. >> brown: romney ads address the job losses directly >> here in north carolina, we're not better off under president obama. his failed economic and trade policies with china have destroyd thousands of jobs. >> brown: that message is a rallying cry to mike armstrong of rocky mount. now he hosts a local tv show on politics. he helped start a tea party branch here in 2010.
5:52 pm
what are the biggest issues? >> jobs, jobs and jobs. that would be your top three >> brown: that's it. so it's a question of who can do the better scrob >> who can do the better job not creating jobs. we realize politicians don't create job but at least enhancing the environment that can create jobs. >> brown: do you think there's much enthusiasm? >> as a conservative i am much more enthusiastic about mitt romney than i was john mccain. i thought john mccain was just an extension of george bush. we had had enough of that. >> brown: but polls show enthusiasm remains a question mark here for mitt romney and for the president. he also has to worry about criticism from his left. people like duke economics professor william garretty who cites the almost one in five blacks out of work here and says the president simply hasn't done enough to help. >> that's pretty staggering actually. i mean, we're approaching the kinds of unemployment rates that existed in the united states at the height of the great depression. in the african-american community in north carolina.
5:53 pm
brown: he has decided to sit out the presidential vote >> i'm going to vote for the other offices on the ballot but i'm just not going to cast a vote for the presidency >> brown: you're not? no brown: you feel okay i feel okay about it. my wife tells me i'm crazy. >> ready to go brown: no doubt octave i can't rainy thinks he's crazy too >> you have to vote for people who support our issues. >> brown: a community organizer working with a group called democracy north carolina, rainy walks the streets for hours every weekend, even on this dreary wet saturday, in her college park neighborhood of raleigh. she knows things are bad here. but firmly believes the president is helping make them right. >> it's just like being in a marriage. when you're having problems in a marriage you have to work at it. change don't come overnight. if you are devoted and committed change will come. i do believe that the next four years will be even a bigger
5:54 pm
change. >> brown: rainy sees african-americans becoming more energizedded to vote. particularly as they hear such things as newt gingrich's primary season talk of the food stamp president. >> we think unconditional efforts by the best food stamp president in american history to maximize dependence is terrible for the future of this country. >> to me it means black, hispanic and poor and that we're lazy. so, when i heard them saying that about president obama, i take that very seriously because they're just all negative. he is not the food stamp king. he is about helping people rardless. pele need hp. >> brown: this summer the national urban league issued a study saying that if black voting patterns revert to 2004 levels, the president will lose north carolina. and the obama campaign taking that threat seriously is paying particular attention to historically black colleges like
5:55 pm
north carolina's central university. michelle obama spoke there last month. >> and if barack wins north carolina, we'll be well on our way to putting barack back in the white house for four more years. >> brown: on saturday the campaign set up a tent amid the pregame drilling at the viking football classic between elizabeth city state and sawnt augustine. registering new voters and bringing in actress journey smolet to mix with the crowd. 18-year-old sure petty was fired up by casting her first vote >> everybody is excitedded. everybody's really excited about getting obama in for a second term. >> brown: of course for mitt romney this is perhaps even more a must-win state. he's made numerous visits and republicans insist they won't let things slip away again. b lockwood is communications director for the north carolina g.o.p. >> comparatively from where we were in 2008 to where we are now we've made 20 times the amount of phone calls, more than 100 times the amount of door knocks.
5:56 pm
over two million voter contacts more than we did in all of 2008 in north carolina. we're doing a great job getting our message out >> brown: one final wild card here the role that social issues might play. in may north carolina voters overwhelming passed a ban on same sex marriage. the very next day president obama announced that he supports gay marriage. sunday morning services at white rock baptist church in durham, tonya who voted for barack obama in 2008 told us the issue has ber politically torn >> it's a direct contradiction to what god says about that. i was just... you know, it conflicts with my christian beliefs. >> brown: this man while deeply opposed to gay marriage said his concerns about voting again for the president were dispelled in recent days >> they are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what >> when mr. romney made the 47%
5:57 pm
comment, that made me shake my head and say like aate low of americans, when you tell americans you are entitled and dependent on the government because of social security and medicare, that showed a great deal of insensitivity. >> brown: pastor stevens also had a greater concern about missed opportunities. >> this shouldn't be an election about voting against the oer guy. this should be an election about voting for the person who is is going to benefit your community. >> brown: you're not seeing that from either party? >> neither party. neither party >> brown: the two parties intending to stir enthusiasm in the weeks before the vote, that might well be a sobering message indeed. >> ifill: you can find more on jeff's trip to north >> ifill: you can find more on jeff's trip to north carolina, including his foray into mixed martial arts on our web site. watch his newsroom conversation
5:58 pm
with political editor christina bellantoni, plus a behind-the- scenes slideshow, on our politics page. >> woodruff: the newshour and npr are tracking how the presidential campaigns are spending their ad dollars to target specific demographic groups in battlegrounds like north carolina, our partner kantar media/cmag found that president obama and mitt romney have spent eight times more money this year on spanish- language ads than in 2008. npr's greg allen went to raleigh to explore how those ads were being used to target the growing hispanic population in the state, and the messages the candidates are usi to appeal to this younger and economically hard-hit group of voters. he joins us now. good to have you with us. and greg, just to be clear. north carolina is getting a large share or at least a share of this hispanic advertising money but much of it you're reporting discovered is going to other states >> that's right, judy. i mean really when you look at it, half of all the advertising
5:59 pm
is being spent... hispanic language advertising is being spent in florida in like three markets. you have orlando, miami and tampa. that's whee rlly the lion's share of this is going. then you take those steps, denver is getting aate lot of spanish-language advertising from both campaigns. also las vegas is. then you have a few other markets. raleigh is a very interesting case here because there you have a market with a growing hispanic presence where hispanic voters... hispanics are one out of every 10 voter in the raleigh area. the question is or at least one every 10 population. the romney campaign feels it's important to reach them. it's been doing spanish language ads in that market. so far the obama campaign hasn't tch them. it's an interesting development. >> woodruff: tell us what kinds of ads you're seeing the campaigns running there >> well, it's interesting because, you know, as we all know, you know, president obama has been down this road before. he did very well with hispanic voters four years ago, winning something like 67% of the
6:00 pm
hispanic vote nationwide. in north carolina, the hispanic vote while small can be significant. that's a state where president obama only won by 14,000 votes four years ago. there's many more hispanic voters than that. i think the philosophy or the strategy for the romney camp i to try to win some of those voters back. they're doing it by going on the air with advertising. a lot of the advertising is advertising introducing mitt romney to voters because aate lot of people don't know him. biographical ads. you have some with his son craig who is a fluent spanish speaker, speaking directly to hispanics. that's very important. he does that. then you've also got some ads where they talk about an ad they call the truth. they try to tell what they see as the truth about president obama where he's fallen short. they're trying to sell that kind of three-pronged message to hispanics in raleigh and try to win some of tho votes >> woodruff: this is a message that is specifically tailored to the latino, to the hispanic community some >> yes. i think all of his... most of his ads are although i've talked to some analysts who have been
6:01 pm
somewhat critical of the romney camp for some of the ads they put together. for instance, the first ad they put up was an ad called day one which was just a direct translation of an english language ad they had. as part of that ad among the things that governor romney talks about is or the narrator does on his behalf talks about wanting to repeal the health care form plan. obama-care. that, of course, is something that is is actually very popular with hispanic. that's what some people have been considerd to be a misstep. the kinds of things where they don't target an ad directly at the hispanic community. until they do that, they won't get it right >> woodruff: is there a sense of how effective that is, i this advertising the romney camp is doing, how effective it is? >> for one thing they're far behind in terms of spanish language ads, far behind the obama campaign. they've only spent about half as much as the obama campaign had. that number has rampd up dramatically. they say they're going to do a full ad blitz in the last month. they introduced a new ad today
6:02 pm
which attacks president obama for leaving a $6 trillion national they say for the children and grandchildren. they talk about, this is the spanish-language ad, they talk about how this is going to be a debt they're going to have to pay. they've also come up with some ads where they talk, where you have hispanic voters talking about why they feel disappointed in president obama. where they feel that his promises were not kept. so those are some of the things we're starting to see from them. things that seem a little bit more artful, that some analysts have told me that they think actually are more on the mark, might have more resonance with the hispanic community >> woodruff: very quickly. contrast that with the message coming out from the obama camp to the hispanic electorate there >> well, the obama campaign has enlisted the hispanic oprah, she's done a series of ads that have been very effective for president obama. he's used spanish-speaking volunteers talking about the issues, talking to other people
6:03 pm
in the community about that. just kind of one-to-one thing that realy helps build trust in the hispanic community. this is someone we can trust. >> woodruff: greg allen joining us with a look at what both campaigns are doing to reach hispanic voters. thanks very much. >> my pleasure. >> ifill: tune in tomorrow night for special pbs' coverage of the first presidential debate, moderated by jim lehrer. mark shields and david brooks will join judy and me for real time analysis at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. but our coverage begins at noon online, when we begin live stream coverage with interviews on policy, a politics preview and a live blog throughout the debate itself. the conversation continues after the debate ends at a google-plus hangout with undecided battleground state voters. >> woodruff: there are new developments today in the benghazi consulate attack as congressional committee leaders turn up the heat on the state department and there are reports that the u.s. is closer to
6:04 pm
targeting suspected perpetrators. margaret warner has more. warner: the attacks that kied american ambassador chris stevens and three colleagues in benghazi was first described by u.s. officials as an eruption of anger at an anti-islam film. the obama administration has since reversed that appraisal and now calls it a well coordinated terrorist attack. but questions have mounted over the shifting assessments. and today two republican congressmen, oversight committee chairman darrell issa of california and jays leveled new allegations. in a letter to secretary of state clinto they charged washington rejected multiple requests for security improvements at been gas emission. they base their assertions on unidentified sources described as multiple u.s. federal government officials. the state department spokeswoman said the secretary would respond
6:05 pm
in writing this very day. >> her response is going to be relatively succinct today, as i said, expressing her complete commitment to work with the congress to get fully to the bottom of this. but i don't anticipate she'll be able to answer the specific questions today >> warner: the two congressmen say their committee will hold a hearing next wednesday on the libya attack. meanwhile the f.b.i. has sent a team to libya to determine just what happened. and secretary clinton named a review board to assess security arrangements at that u.s. consulate and others. and while the investigations proceed, the "new york times" reported today that the pentagon and c.i.a. are drawing up contingency plans to kill or capture those believed responsible for the killings. congreman issa's letter also congressman issa's letter detailed some 13 anti-u.s. and anti-western security incidents in the months leading up to the attacks. for more now on the state of
6:06 pm
security in benghazi and hunt for suspects, we turn to two reporters: siobhan gordon of the "wall street journal" and greg miller of the "washington post." welcome to you both. president obama pledged on september 12 to bring the killers to justice. siobhan, starting with you. how far along is the u.s. in the investigation, the kind of investigation to have to do that some >> they're fairly far along in terms of being able to identify some individuals through either tracking conversations or through video that is picked up. photographs and the like. so they have identified a number of individuals. they are trying to figure out now what the next steps are to deal with those individuals. much they've discovered that they hail from a number of different militant groups >> warner: you had a story today about an egyptian-born militant who was freed last year after the egyptian revolution from an egyptian pron >> right. he's a former egyptian islamic
6:07 pm
jihad operative. he was in the sights of the spy agencies prior to this attack that they have discovered that some of the militants in his network because he has set up these training camps in libya because you have more freedom of movement there have turned up as having taken, you know, taken the consulate as well >> warner: how far along are they, greg, in terms of the kind of planning that will go into doing something? >>in the early stages of trying to make some decisions about that. i think this administration has signaled that it would prefer to work through the libyan institutions and see if they can detain people and apprehend people that way. i'm sure that they are drawing up contingency plans for if that doesn't work and what does the united states do? i think we're some distance from seeing anything that looks like a drone strike in libya. >> warner: critics say that the fact... administration critics, that r.p.g.s were usedded in the attacks should have been prime a favre evidence that this
6:08 pm
was a terrorist attack. from your reporting and you've been both been reporting on this, what were the signs or the evidence that led the administration to reverse its initial assessment? greg? >> well, i think there's been a number of things. they've come from different sources so there was... there have been some intercepts that show contact between some of the militants and organizedded militant organizations perhaps even including al qaeda and the islamic mag remember. there are other information coming in from informants and/or detainees who have been scooped up and are being questioned in tripoli. >> warner: and what... do you want to add something to that? >> no. warner: let's go on to the state of security because you've written a lot about this. what was the state of security at that consulate and the whole environment in the city before the attacks? >> well, the state of security had been pretty constant. they were relying largely on local libyans to handle it.
6:09 pm
there were four armed libyan guards and four unarmed libyan guards. there were also five armed americans at the time. i believe there were probably twice that many a the separate fight, the annex where there was a second set of attacks later on. that's pretty minimal. that had really been the state of security for the several months leading up even though there had been a number of attacks on western targets including the consulate itself which had been bombed in june. >> warner: and these were detailed, some of these in congressman issa's letter including an attack on the british ambassador's convoy >> right. warner: with r.p.g.s there were attacks on the red cross facility in benghazi siobhanaidthere was a june 5 attack on this very consulate that was later sieged. so that's why there were these questions right at the outset right after any after math of the attacks in benghazi. what was the security profile and didn't all of these other
6:10 pm
episodes... weren't those cause for concern, significant concern in escalating the security profile there? >> what has your reporting told you about that? i mean, did u.s. officials, american officials think that that created a more dangerous environment for ambassador stevens to be walk into and if so what did they do about it? >> i think they thought it created a more dangerous environment but they were dealing with it adequately. after the attack on the british ambassador's convoy britain pulld out of benghazi and the u.s. made its decision to stay there. the officials we spoke with said it was for unspecified national security reasons. they were doing a lot of different operations in that area, i think that... >> warner: intelligence operations >> basically, yes. and so, you know, there was a need for an american presence there. so, you know, it was explained to us they did keep evaluating the security even up until just before september 11 in light of
6:11 pm
the anniversary of september 11. they decided that the security was adequate. at least as it's been presentedded to us, it was considered regularly. but it was pretty limited security though. >> warner: have you run across anyone who, any american officials who said to the home base, we need better security? >> i have not yet in our reporting and obviously we've been asking about that. i think that some... a lot of officials are waiting for this accountability board review to turn up its findings because i think that their belief is that that will probably create at least the most definitive story about security warnings up to this point. >> warner: and you reported on this last friday, greg. the director of national intelligence came out and made a statement last friday about why they believed one thing initially and then came to believe something else. >> well, according to the
6:12 pm
director's office, they issued that statement to try to clarify that the intelligence picture had been shifting in benghazi. they thought that the stories about this and the attacks coming from capitol hill were mischaracterizing the evolution and the understanding by the intelligence community of what had happened there. so they came out with a letter which is a pretty unusual step. i mean the middle of an investigation by the state department. a statement is issued saying, look, initially we thought this was spontaneous. ter looking at it more closely in the days that followed, we saw new indications that suggests that this was really a terrorist attack >> warner: stepping back, you both have good sources in the administration. is there a feeling from people you talked to that they really... this was an intelligence -- i hate to use the word -- failure but that in retrospect the situation was far more dangerous than they realized and should have
6:13 pm
realized? or are they not there yet? >> i'm not sure that they're characterizing it as an intelligence failure because there haven't been any indications that come up that would have shown yet, you know, we may well see that but we haven't yet seen that smoking gun of, you know, this was the piece of intelligence that we've missed that would have provided clear warning. i think what you're seeing particularly from lawmakers and some within the administration is a discussion about whether or not they were underestimating the security risks that they were putting u.s. officials into especially when they were in these sort of outer-lying plomatic outposts. i mean theyalled the benghazi conflict a temporary outpost but it was there for a year. they were thinking about it in the context of this is a temporary kind of thing. that may have factored into the way that they were looking at security. >> the same thing. i don't think that anybody is calling this an intelligence failure. if there were failures they seem to be broad failures. that's what the evidence indicates so far. nobody has come forward to say that there was specific
6:14 pm
intelligence about this attack, that it was underway, that it was coming or anything like that, that would have enabled specific, you know, precautions. but more broadly, yeah, we still don't really have clea swers ons to why amid all of this violence there -- and in this very violent setting -- why this facility remains so vulnerable. >> warner: greg miller of the "washington post" and siobhan gordon of the wall street journal, thank you both. >> ifill: next, what's happening to the great barrier reef in australia. a new study finds that one of the world's great natural wonders and its largest coral system is in decline. researchers at the australian institute of marine science say the reef has lost half of its coral cover over the past 27 years. there are multiple causes, including a destructive kind of starfish shown here.
6:15 pm
we look at what's behind it and what's at stake-- in australia and around the world-- with nancy knowlton, a coral reef biologist and a chair of marine science at the smithsonian national museum of natural history here in washington. welcome. >> thanks. how has all of this coral died off? do we know what's causing it? is it all that... >> it's not all the star fish. the star fish is about 42%. typhoons, big strong storms another 48% and then coral bleaching is the remaining 10% which is caused whenever the water gets too hot. >> ifill: so this is human causedded? >> yes. most of it is human caused. i mean a coral reef naturally goes through cycles of up and down. but it shouldn't be declining by half over course of 27 years. >> ifill: i feel like we have talked before about the declining coral cover. but not... but i'm wondering whether it's now picking up speed or whether this is just a natural deterioration that we should just be used to >> no, this is not a natural
6:16 pm
deterioration. it's not natural in australia and it's not natural around the world where we've seen similar declines in a variety of places, in the caribbean, for example, we've lost 80% of the living coral just in the last 0 years. it's also not as if the australians have been ignoring a great barrier reef. that's an iconic reef for their society and their economy. they put quite a few pleasures in place to take care of it. losing half of it in 27 years despite that effort is quite shocking >> ifill: when you say it's human cause. you mean what we do with our waters, what we do with our fishing, what we do with our run-off from agricultural causes? >> all of those things have a big role to play. as you mentioned, the voracious predatory star fish has caused lot of the death on coral reef. that star fish is almost like a locust on reeves when it gets out of control. a swimmer can see 100 or even over 1,000 in a 20-minute swim when you have an outbreak going on. they can kill up to two thirds of a reef just in a year when
6:17 pm
that happens. what causes that now is increasingly well understood. in fact, information from the great barrier reef is why we understand it. on one hand, it's really important to have healthy fish communities there because the fish eat the star fish and keep them under control. then you have to really worry about water quality because if there's too much nutrients in the water what happens is the baby star fish when they're developing do extra well. then there's a big swarm of them as a result. >> ifill: is there any that this is hapning beses just the great barrier reef. is it happening around the world as well? >> wife known about outbreaks of star fish since the 1960s. it's quite clear from looking at the dynamics that this can't be a natural phenomenon. as i mentioned, we have seen the declines in the caribbean. we've seen the declines all throughout the pacific. now that said there actually are places remote from human activities where the reeves are still really healthy. for example, in the northern
6:18 pm
islands where there's... they are protected by the united states. several of those islands. there the cover of coral is very healthy. the fish populations are amazing. you still see healthy corals but when there's a lot of interaction with people then you get problems >> ifill: if i'm an average american who may never get to see the great barrier reef, unfortunately, why should i care about this? why is it important? >> well, reeves in general are incredibly important in the ocean. one quarter of everything that lives in the ocean lives with coral reef which is amazing when you think of the fact if you squash them down it's only about the size of texas or france. they're also worth quite a b of money. in the australian context, for example, about over 5 billion australian dollars and 50,000 jobs every year >> ifill: how do you stop this die-off? what are we supposed to be doing about it? >> there are a couple of things that we can do. one is that we can continue the regulations on fishing. the great barrier reef. one third of it is protectedded from all fishing. that's very important for controlling the crown of thorn
6:19 pm
star fish. then they have to do a better job with wart quality. it's... with water quality. it's been modeled in a way that suggests that though now we get outbreaks about every 15 years before agriculture, european agriculture was established it was closer 50 to 80 years. that's a big increase. but... those are the things that the australians can do and are doing. but in a global sense we also have to do something about carbon dioxide because local protection buys you a lot of very valuable time. but in the final analysis, if we don't stop global warming and stop stop even the local efforts, heroic as they are in the case of the great barrier reef won't be enough >> ifill: is it possible for these coral to regenerate itself? it seems to me i read that somewhere >> corals are are sort of like plants. you can break them into little pieces just can the way you might separate something in your garden and plant them in different places and they regrow. they are quite flexible.
6:20 pm
the conditions are good and some grow fair fast. you can think of them as trees in a way >> ifill: if you can find some way to stop the die-off, then they can come back? >> absolutely. i mean coral reefs in many parts of the world get battered by typhoons and hurricanes and kie clones. they come back when the conditions are go >> ifill: nancy knowlton of the smithsonian museum of natural history. thank you for helping us >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a look at the 2012 recipients of the macarthur genius grant. for more than three decades, the macarthur foundation has handed out the awards along with millions of dollars to an eclectic mix of thinkers, researchers, writers, and artists. in all, 23 people were selected this year, ranging from a pediatric neurosurgeon to a novelist, an astronomer, and a marine ecologist.
6:21 pm
one striking theme that emerged among several of this year's winners in arts and writing was a focus on war and the military. here's some of what they had to say about their work in videos provided by the foundation. a photographer and professor at bard college in new york, using a 19th century style camera to capture her images, her work has primarily focused on the military and how the landscape has been transformed by war. >> i grew up in vietnam. my life, my childhood has been shaped by war. i've always found the military an incredible enterprise. it's an overwhelming force. it's sub lime because it's inherently horrific and beautiful. people tend to look at the military, they tend to look at war, they td to look at
6:22 pm
conflict as something very black and white. it's not like that at all. how do you approach the subject and explore it in a complicatedded way? i think that's what i'm trying to do. >> woodruff: and this journalist is the national enterprise editor for the "washington post" and author of the book "the good soldiers," which chronicled the months he spent embedded with a u.s. army infantry battalion in iraq. he's now working on a second book about what those soldiers are struggling with since they returned home. >> i finished the first book. i felt i had more to write. so i'm writing the next part of the story. their story wasn't done yet. their war was done. at least in iraq. but the story continues. not to be trite but they're still fighting the war. obviously they'll keep fighting it for the rest of their lives to varying degrees depending on the soldier. but just becaus deployment ended
6:23 pm
redeployed and got off some planes and they were home, they were halfway there. o finish the story. >> film maker laura is working to complete the third in a trilogy of full length documentaries focused on the war on terror. the first two were filmed in iraq, yemen and guantanamo bay, cuba. >> my work is absolutely completely dependent on the people who open their lives to me and take huge risks in doing so, often. i mean, in most of the films that i've been working on in this trilogy, pretty much everyone has their life on the line in one way or another. their life, theirreedom. and so it's really... the films are based on, you know, their courage to allow me to go along on these journeys. >> woodruff: this year's winners each receive a $500,000 grant delivered over a five-year period. we have much more about the 2012 macarthur fellows on
6:24 pm
>> woodruff: we have much more about the 2012 macarthur fellows on our web site. on artbeat, you can find jeff's previous interviews with two of today's winners: author junot diaz and mandolonist chris thile. and you can see a slide show of the other artists. on "making sense," paul solman offers a look at the work of a winning economist, raj chetty. on our science page, you can watch videos of geologist terry plank and astronomer olivier guyon talking about their research. and we have a link to the macarthur foundation's web site on our home page. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. a pennsylvania judge blocked a new law that would have required voters to show photo i.d. at the polls next month. president obama and mitt romney spent the day preparing for their first debate tomorrow night. and republican leaders of the house oversight committee charged that the state department ignored pleas for greater security in benghazi, libya, before the u.s. ambassador was killed there.
6:25 pm
what can middle, high school and college students learn from watching the upcoming presidential debates? kwame holman introduces some special debate teaching tools. >> holman: working with educators around the country, newshour extra, our site for students and teachers, has put together resources to help young viewers learn about the history and evolution of debates, and feel more connected to the democratic process. find those links on the rundown. and headhunter nick corcodilos answers your job search questions, including how to approach a full career change. all that and more is on our web site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll be joined by mark shields and david brooks for our debate preview. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and tomorrow night for our live presidential debate coverage. our own jim lehrer is moderator, and you can join me and gwen for our special, beginning at 9:00 p.m. thank you, and good nigt. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
6:26 pm
intel. sponsors of tomrorow. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and withhe ongoingupport of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:27 pm
6:28 pm
6:29 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on